Only 5 hours to 2017


Another year is almost gone already and I’m sitting here watching Clemson and Ohio beat each other up for a chance to play Alabama for the  NCAA National Championship game. And, the only memory I’ll probably have of 2016 is wondering why the Ohio players have little stickers of marijuana leaves all over their helmets.

Oh, I’m sure other important memories of 2016 will surface after the vision of those helmets dims, but, for now, that’s all I’ve got.

I didn’t even know marijuana was legal in Ohio, and I wonder if their coaches know what those little leaves symbolize.

Maybe I’m wrong and it’s some other kind of plant, but it’s still kinda weird.

I hope everyone has had a stellar year and that you all have a safe night celebrating the arrival of 2017.

Party smart.

See you next year.


Another Ho-Hum day in the Northwest

First, for those of you who read yesterday’s post, the hair clog in the tub was anticlimactic compared to what I’ve extracted in the past. I can get more hair off Panzie with a spoon that I got out of the drain. But, the drain is flowing like it should. My favorite spouse is happy with me and that’s what’s important.

So, instead of a hair clog photo, I’m compelled to share this one that I took this morning.


Kinda makes you love nature just a little more, doesn’t it? This is an unenhanced photo, by the way. Enhancing it wouldn’t have made it any better. Not long after this shot was taken, the sun came up just to the right of the mountain, then all the color went away.

Here’s a closer look at that nifty cloud.


This morning I attended our Men’s Coffee Clash at the Kozy. I don’t get to go every Thursday, but there’s always someone there if you want to drop by. We start at 9 am in the back room. This morning we had six people show up which is a modern-day record. Normally it’s between 1 and 4. Good to see the guys. Like normal, we solved a lot of the world’s problems in the hour we spent together. Too bad people don’t listen to what we have to say. I think we had a discussion one day where we talked about pooling our retirement income so we could buy an island somewhere and start our own country. I may have imagined that one. Lots of our discussions blur the line between fantasy and reality for me, especially when I try to remember what we talked about. Considering what’s going on with the presidency, I suspect you probably know we spend some time on politics. We also spend a considerable amount of time on religion because our church is going to through change because our expensive Pastor retired and we must search for a new cheaper one.

Then I got to go to ACE where I bought Diane a new outside thermometer, a new rain gauge, and a new battery charger. The thermometer is HUGE so Diane can read it without her glasses, from the couch in the living room, if she wants to. I don’t know why she would ever want to do that because the old way worked pretty good; “Jerrie. What’s the outside temperature?” and I’d check AccuWeather on my iPhone and tell her. With the new thermometer in place all I have to do is run to the kitchen and look instead of looking for my phone.

That’s the kitchen window way over there. The thermometer is attached to the fence post that has the humming bird feeder attached to it. It’s good to have the humming bird feeder right above the thermometer because we’ll know right away when it’s freezing so we can take the feeder inside before it solidifies. Poor little hummers might bend their little beaks on that ice.


Speaking of looking for my phone … I got Diane and me  those little Tile things that you can put on your key chain. With the Tile app on the phone you can make the Tile beep, and find your keys. An added bonus is that when you can’t find your phone you can double-click the Tile and your phone will play a nifty little song. It plays really loud, too, so it’s easy to find. Pretty cute.

In another recent post, Christmas Day, I think, I mentioned that I nicked an artery in my finger while slicing tomatoes and put on a rubber glove when I got blood on the carrots while cutting them. The glove help seal up the , apparently, because when I took it off this is what it looked like. Kind of disappointing, really.


That’s all I’ve got for today.

Only 362 shopping days left till Christmas

Today was a bit different from the day before yesterday because we actually got dressed and left the house. Day before we spent all day in our jammies and just watched Hallmark Christmas movies all day long.

Yesterday was an indoor day, too, but for a different reason. It was time to move our Christmas tree outside into the rain so it could get a good watering until we’re ready to stick it in the ground. Then we moved furniture around so we could clean up all the popcorn and candy from under Diane’s chair. That was actually quite a surprise because she really likes popcorn and it’s hard to believe she dropped any on the floor. But she did, and the dogs didn’t find it. That’s odd, too, because they all like popcorn more than people do and nothing says on the floor for long.

Moving the furniture involved moving pretty much everything to a different location, including the TV, and turning the carpet 90 degrees so the dogs could lay comfortably in front of the fireplace. That, led to the need to actually light the fireplace, something we haven’t done for a long, long time. Thankfully it came on and worked just great. Ziva’s a happy camper.


It didn’t take long for Panzie to roust Ziva and take over. Actually, they take turns. They stay right in front of the fire until their eyes dry out, then move to a cooler location until they can blink. It’s a constant cycle. Little Ozzie sneaks in there once in a while, but not often.


Another interesting thing that happened yesterday was that we lost one of our new butcher knives, the blue one. We looked absolutely everywhere for it but couldn’t find it. It almost kept me awake last night, but not quite. I did spend a considerable amount of time looking for it before going to bed.

Then, this morning, thinking one of us (me) may have tossed the knife in the trash, for some reason, Diane dug around in it for a while to no avail. No knives in the trash. On her way back in the house she asked me if it might be in with the fudge.

Click! went the light and I had a clear view of the knife laying alongside the uncut fudge after I had cut a bunch of pieces for Diane’s Mom, Jean. Once again, Diane solved the mystery. She’s really good at that. Solving mysteries.

After all that hard work yesterday Diane had plans to relax a little and take Mom shopping for a new coat at Penny’s in Longview. I had planned to stay home and work on a couple of projects I have on my list. The main one is to remove the hair from the tub drain in Diane’s bathroom. It has an interesting contraption that plugs the drain for a bath, and it collects the hair. Consequently, when Diane showers, the water kinda starts filling the tub allowing her to soak her feet during the shower. She doesn’t like that.

Then someone mentioned having lunch at Sizzler. Upon being made aware of the lunch decision, I made a command decision that the bathtub hair could wait until tomorrow. Normally my command decisions are subject to review, but fortunately this one passed without comment.

The main reason for the shopping trip was to replace the coat Diane got for Mom that was a bit too tight. Fortunately, it fit Lydia just right so she inherited the coat. What a deal.

Finding the proper coat was much easier with the recipient present so we were at Sizzler in no time. I ate 8 chicken wings, two tacos, a soup bowl of ice cream, and a healthy salad. And a lemonade.

We’ve been home for a while now and Diane’s letting me watch a bowl game – Utah against Indiana. It’s tied 17-17 at the half. I’m not normally a Utah fan, but they are a PAC-12 team so kinda need to wish them well.

Tomorrow I’ll tell you about the tub hair. Might even show you a picture.

Christmas Day 2016

The day is almost done which means it’s only 364 more shopping days until next Christmas. So, you better get out there and rake in all those after Christmas bargains so you’ll be ready. Don’t, however, hide them in places like we do that turn out to be the best place ever to hide things because they seem to just disappear.

Last night our church conducted its traditional 11 pm Christmas Eve service for the first time in many years. Our previous Pastor moved the service to 9 pm the last few years because he had a long commute. It was good to get back to tradition and many folks participated. It was a good evening, led by our Council President, Angela. She was nervous, but did a great job, and the order of service that she and Nancy authored was excellent. Very meaningful, filled with songs. It was all about the Christmas story. Very nice.

Staying up so late is something we’re not used to and getting things ready for the family crowd today didn’t leave much room to sleep in for long. I did, anyway, because the dogs still got me up at 6-ish. Diane got up pretty early, too, but she left me sleeping in my normal morning napping spot on the couch while she went down to her girl room and wrapped presents. Lots, and lots of presents. I was oblivious.

All of our children and grand children were here as well as Jennie & Dan’s ‘adopted’ exchange student, Ahmed who is from Pakistan. This was the first time he’s ever participated in a family Christmas gathering so it was quite an experience for him. Lots of happy noise, good food, and a very slow process of opening presents. This year we alternated from the youngest, Jerrie Anne, to the oldest, Diane’s Mom, Jean. Then came Baylee, Me, Gilligan, Diane, Ahmed, Jeff, Jeran, Heather, Lydia, Daniel, Cedric, and Jennifer, in that order until everyone had opened all their presents. It’s a slow process but it’s one of our traditions that allows everyone to experience the joy of watching each person open their gifts instead of having paper flying everywhere like it’s a free for all. That’s just not fun for us.

On family days like this Diane always wears herself out with cooking and making sure everyone is properly fed, just like a super star mom should. This year she made her world-famous Black Bean Vegetable Soup for everyone, and her most excellent Clam Chowder (for Lydia). I cut up all the vegetables for the soups and for the vegetable tray. Sounds simple, but I managed to slice a bit from the side of a finger while cutting up tomatoes. I finally had to quit and put on a rubber glove when I started getting blood all over the carrots. Thankfully the carrots cleaned up OK and I don’t think I’m still contagious so everyone should be OK.

Diane’s Mom always comments on what a lot of work it is for Diane to host events like this forgetting, I think, that I actually participate in lots of the work. My part is to do exactly what I’m told to do and to not volunteer to step in to take over a task that Diane is already working on. I used to get in trouble for that all the time. It took me about 47 years to figure out that she was actually serious about asking for my help when she needed it. So now I just sit around doing other stuff, ready to jump up and help whenever she calls me. I have to admit that I’m still not very good about doing things that are scheduled a day or two out. I’m much better at helping when it’s needed right now.

I always to it cheerfully, too, because I’m the best husband in the entire world.

What else could I be for the best wife in the entire world?

Now the day is done and I must call it quits. Both Diane and I hope everyone had a terrific Christmas and that when the celebrating was done you made it safely home.

Joy and Peace to you all.

Public Toilets

I read the news again this morning, a task I’ve been avoiding, and found a story regarding the LGBT community and public bathrooms. There was no mention of the non-LGBT community which is surely affected by decisions to support the other side of that coin, but that’s OK. The bottom line, as I understand it, is that the LGBT group want to use toilets that are specific to their chosen, genetically assigned, or surgically manipulated gender. I respect that need. When ya gotta go, ya gotta go, you know?

After giving this thorough consideration I’ve come up with two possible solutions.

  1. Close all public toilets. Instead, focus on encouraging folks to go to the bathroom before they leave home, just like parents do with their kids.
  2. Place portable toilets on each side of entrances into large stores, like Macy’s, Nordstrom, Wal-Mart, etc., and in school breezeways, and throughout large parking lots.

This may pose problems for eating establishments that are not located inside a mall, but I have a solution for that, too. Have one bathroom that has 4 sinks so folks can wash their hands after using the portable toilets next to the entrance on their way in.

I, personally, really don’t give a hoot which bathroom anyone uses. When I have to use public facilities I don’t take an inventory of who’s in there with me. I’m not there to judge or strike up a spirited conversation. I just want to do my business, wash my hands, and leave. Emphasis on “wash my hands.”


Welcome to the Seventies

I’m a day early on this but wanted to get it out there. My favorite wife, my first one, is having a birthday tomorrow and she’s moving into the 70’s tomorrow. In honor of that were having a little party tonight to celebrate her last night in the 60’s. I’m pretty sure she isn’t aware of it, yet, so I guess you could call it a surprise.  Just cake and the Walters Clan because this is their only day off. I’m sure we will connect with the rest of the local Cate Clan this week to complete the celebration.

Okinawa, 1968, when we were newly married.

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More recent

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Diane’s Pantry & Snow Days


So … I reorganized Diane’s pantry. What do you think? It’s much easier to find things, now. Before we had to dig through all the shelves to find what we were looking for. Sometimes we just dug around to see what was there. Now, everything is right out there in the open and easy to see. The dogs love it because it’s like wandering around in a grocery store, picking out the things that look good.


It snowed a few days ago and doesn’t appear that it’s going to leave us soon. Watching the news yesterday about all the traffic jams almost made us want to move into Portland. It was an incredible mess. Those “in the know” pointed their fingers of blame at the Oregon Department of Transportation for not using rock salt on the road. Washington does, and they don’t seem to have any difficulty getting around in snowy weather. Oregon uses lots of gravel at intersections, which is good, and lots and lots of chemicals on bridges and main roads. Out here in the country, things are quite good by comparison because most of the drivers have an inherent knowledge that they should drive a lot slower when there is snow and ice on the road. Many Portlanders don’t have that ability. Consequently, they cause problems that all the news stations just love.

Now for some snow pictures, just to prove we actually had some. Not much, this time, but some. Just enough, actually, for the district to close schools for a couple of days.

I think I mentioned on my first posting of this photo that our balls look much nicer with snow on them.


Ozzie either isn’t a fan, or he’s got a problem with Panzee taking advantage of an opportunity to sniff his butt. Or is she just looking at it?


Our snowman even got snow on him. You’d think it would just absorb into him, wouldn’t you?


Regarding Diane’s pantry shelves. This is what I really did.

Right side


Left side. I loaded up all the drawers so, of course, everything is in the totally wrong place. Just just stacked stuff by size, not content. Diane said she’s going to reorganize them one of these days. Right now I’m the only one who knows where stuff is which makes me feel kind of powerful.


I’m going to add a couple more drawers. Just have to build them. Ran out of material for the drawer bottoms.

Showers, Doctors, & Jack

Before going to the doctor I always take a shower. Diane insists. I suspect she does that because it’s assumed that one would put on clean underwear which is the really what she wants me to do. You see, it’s illegal to go to the doctor unless you have on good, clean underwear. The only exception is for emergency visits for medical attention, something I’ve done more than a few times.

The thing about those showers, which I always take because I know Diane is keeping track, is that I’ve been taking a lot more of them lately for  one reason or another. Simple stuff, like a congenital ingrown toenail, a sore thumb, a couple of routine checkups, and most recently, like today, for a bulge in my right bicep.

I suppose some may find that amusing because normal male people strive for bulging biceps. In my case, I only have one of those and, it’s lopsided. And it hurts a little. So, I call the doc to see if there’s an opening in her schedule, which there was at 3:45 pm, then worked a while longe on a piece of sheet rock I cut to fill the hole in the ceiling of Diane’s Girl Room when I worked on the bathroom above it about 4-5 years ago. All the sudden she said it’s got a gold breeze coming out of it. So, I fixed it. Then I took my shower and went to the doctor.

After looking at my arm, confirming my belief that it was malformed, my doctor said I should contact my orthopedic doctor for a more informed diagnosis, but she thought it might be a ruptured bicep muscle. Personally, I think there’s something growing in there because I can feel it, make it move around like a big marble. But, maybe that’s what a ruptured muscle is like. I won’t know for sure until I visit the orthopedic folks.

My first query to the orthopedic people I know is to find out if they are the correct ones. That field is so specialized now that I think they have different clinics for shoulders, shoulders to elbow, elbows, elbow to wrist, wrists, then fingers. Hopefully I’ll know more tomorrow.

Until that determination is complete, I’ll continue to work on the drawers for Diane’s pantry. Actually, all the drawers are done. I just need to stuff them in the cabinet and bolt them to the inside. After my doctor’s appointment, I went to ACE to get the proper size screws needed to finish the job. I should be able to get them done tomorrow. Unless I have to take another shower, that is.

In case you didn’t know, today is my big brother Jack’s birthday. He won’t tell me how old he is but I know he was born in 1938, or thereabouts. Following a family tradition, I called to wish him a happy day in person. It’s always good to talk with Jack, for any reason, but especially good on his birthday.

Next up for birthdays is my lovely bride – December 20th, my Christmas Baby.

Gotta go now.

Politics, Hallmark, & Projects

I’ve been thinking lately, not something I typically do on a regular basis. Normally I just roll with whatever’s going on at the time, oblivious to external influences. Consequently, I miss out on a lot of things that are apparently important to lots of people.

One thing that got my attention lately is the Texas Elector who decided he wasn’t going to cast Texas’ electoral votes for Trump because he’s an elector “to elect a president, not a king.” So, he’s resigning, leaving, which brings up another question in my head. How do these people get a job as an Elector?

Are they appointed by someone? If so, who might that be?

Did they win some sort of raffle at the last convention?

Did they happen to sit in the only chair at the convention dinner that had the winning envelope taped to the bottom?

Considering the fact there have been Faithless Electors in the past, those who do not vote for their winning candidate, I can’t help but wonder about either the validity of the elector process, or those appointed to serve as an elector. Seems like I read somewhere, in my long, arduous research on this, that the Electoral system was designed because voters couldn’t be trusted to vote for the most qualified candidate. Actually, I did read it somewhere, like here. Go figure.

Enough of that.

Now, how about some more interesting stuff? OK.

We’ve been watching a lot of Hallmark Channel movies lately, like we do every year at this time. All have Christmas themes, and all have great stories where the guy gets the girl and every one is happy forever after. Today was different, however. It was about a young woman who was transported 71 years into the future from December 22nd, 1945 to December 22nd, 2016. During her time in 2016 she learned about how small, kind things she did in 1945 had enormous impact on her town and families in 2016. Being able to witness these changes gave her a new outlook on life, changing her view of herself as insignificant to the understanding that even a small stone makes ripples in a pond. It was very good. So good, in fact, that we didn’t even take time to make popcorn. That is a stellar testament to our value of this movie.

I’d tell you the name of it, but I can’t remember.

I’ve got two drawers installed in Diane’s pantry. Only 8 more to go. As soon as I remember to buy the right kind of screws the next time I’m at ACE, I’ll be able to finish them up. I’m looking forward to the end of it because I’ve been talking about it for at least 7 years. That’s not all about procrastination, which I’ve very good at, but also about having lots of other things to do. So, drawers were never high on the list of priorities. That, and having emergent issues interfere with my 3-hour work day. Too many club meetings, also. Since I stopped going to all the meetings, I’ve been able to use my tools more often.

Part of the building process gave me an opportunity to use the drill press I was presented by PGE at my 20 year employment anniversary. I drilled about a zillion holes, some of which were countersunk to make shorter screws work like longer ones. All that drilling caused lingering pain in my right bicep which I thought was just normal tired muscles. Frequent checks, however, because it just feels weird, revealed to me that something is rolling around in there with that tiny muscle. I’m convinced it’s a growth of some sort, or that a portion of my bicep experienced a small explosion. One of these days I may call my doctor  to see if there’s a chance she can figure it out. Maybe it’ll just go away. In any case, progress comes with a price. Perhaps this is mine.

We’ve had snow. See.img_0787

Those are tiny little snow drifts made by our one day snow storm on our porch. I imagine they are pretty hazardous for small bugs in a hurry, but not too bad for people. The front yard was a winter wonderland, too, but I didn’t take a photo of that

I’ll stop for today on that note.

Oil Change, New Cars, & Travel Trailers

This morning I spent two hours at the local Chevy dealer, Emmert getting the oil changed in Diane’s truck, and having them install parts to satisfy two recall notices that’s I’ve apparently been ignoring. That gave me two hours to visit with my friends who sell cars there. They really like me because I make stupid decisions when buying vehicles. I think there’s probably a photo of me in their break room with a note about what an easy mark I am.

The last few visits, however, I’ve disappointed them. I just talk for a while, sit in the show room vehicles (Corvette, Camaro, and Cascada today), then go out and wander around the lot just looking at ‘stuff’. I learned a long time ago that I need to visit them first before wandering the lot because the salesmen are always watching for a chance to bend a looker’s ear. They now know that when something is interesting enough to me I’ll let them know. They’re a great group of folks and I love the service department. I took a photo of Diane’s new car and sent it to her but she hasn’t answered back, yet.


I looked at trucks, mostly, just for fun. The one that appealed the most cost $67K. That’s three times what we paid for our house! In Florida! Holy moly. They also had one of your typical Chevy Suburbans, that the government likes to use, on the lot for only $74K.

Yesterday I mentioned that I got new tires installed on Diane’s truck. When they gave it back the tire pressure on all four was close to 40 lbs. When I got the truck back after the oil change, and their multi-point inspection, the tire pressure was reset to 32 on three of them. I suspect they were supposed to drop the other tire, too, but got sidetracked. Anyway, they let out some expensive air from those tires and I’m going to have to get them refilled. I am, of course, relying on the digital monitor conveniently provided by Chevy that shows tire pressure on it’s DIC. That’s the Digital Information Center, in case you’re wondering. It’s a little TV screen that sits right between the speedo and tach. It’s really handy to have a little DIC like that. Diane relies on it all the time.

I’m pretty sure I’m going to get in trouble for that. It sounded better in my head.

While Diane went shopping she left instructions for me to find the book for our trailer and find out what needs to be done to winterize it. I went looking for the book, but couldn’t find it so, instead, I brought in a bunch of food that I figured didn’t need to stay out there all winter. I did find all the drain valves to dump the fresh water from tanks and lines so those are now clear. When Diane got home she led me to the trailer and we both looked for the books. I finally found them in the first place I looked. It was just in a folder not quite as large as I had in my head. Therefore, it was invisible to me.

Now I know that I also need to remove the batteries because batteries left in freezing weather won’t hold a charge very well. That one was new to me. I’ve never removed the batteries and never had a problem. So, being pessimistic, I suspect that when I reinstall the batteries in the spring, they won’t work. Guess I’ll see.

News around here is that it’s going to be snowing at our level next week. Yippee. Once we get a good cover on the roads it’s fun to find a spot near the highway so we can watch the wrecks. It’s a holiday favorite activity. It’s free and we take our own popcorn. I’ll take pictures.